Sunday, February 26, 2017

Get Out – Movie Review: Meet The Parents Gone Horribly Wrong

I think there are more Windows Phones in this film than have been sold in the last two years.

Get Out starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, LilRel Howery and written and directed by Jordan Peele. Get Out has a simple premise. A girlfriend brings her boyfriend home to meet her parents for the first time. The catch is Chris, the main character, is black and is meeting his girlfriend’s white parents for the first time. From here the story starts to get weird, and frankly terrifying. The interactions Chris has with everyone at the parent’s house increasingly get stranger and stranger. For a freshman effort at directing Jordan Peele knocked it out of the park by telling a compelling story through film.

Pacing. Get Out has nearly perfect pacing. A good thriller/horror film needs to draw tension and suspense and add it throughout the story to reach a satisfying conclusion. Jordan Peele does a masterful job in telling this for this particular story.  The cold open sets the stage for where the movie will eventually conclude, but then transition to the normal relationship between Rose and Chris is done well. The music Peele selects for the first opening scenes sets the perfect tone. Each subsequent interaction and scene builds the tension for the story. The story is also sporadically interrupted with scenes with LilRel Howery’s TSA agent character who is friends with Chris. These scenes where well placed in the film and added just the right amount of levity to the movie. There is one scene in particular which seemingly poked fun at the overall premise of the film. It was the funniest scene in the film and was at the perfect place in the story. The movie is simply well made and it is a truly effective suspenseful horror film.

Along with the story all of the actors do a great job in the movie. Daniel Kaluuya in particular is fantastic as the star. He holds the entire movie together with his performance. The emotion he conveys with his eyes is extremely well done. Allison Williams as the girlfriend has an understated performance for most of the film, but delivers overall. Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are great as the creepy parents. Catherine Keener in particular has some great spooky scenes as the therapist mom. The entire cast adds to the movie and each performance enhances the film. Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel have relatively minor roles, but their characters have a presence in the story. All of the characters, however minor, have depth and feel realized for their place in the film.

There is a deeper social aspect to Get Out as well. Just watching the film on a surface level works, but the social commentary is hard to miss. The message doesn’t hit the audience over the head, but it is there. Peele did a good job of leaving the message he was trying to convey open to interpretation. He had an idea of what he wanted to get across, but I think all people can relate to and find different meanings in the story told. There is some backlash for the film, either from the universal praise from critics, or because of its subject matter. For me the hype was real and I enjoyed every aspect of the movie, and the subtle social commentary.

The only negative I saw in the film was the ending scene. It was the only moment of levity that didn’t really match the overall tone for the film. I did chuckle at one of the jokes during the last part, but the end just was a little out of place. It was a slight wobble on the landing in an otherwise perfect routine. This is just a small nitpick in a movie I enjoyed and could see watching again, which isn’t something I say about a horror film. It is very much worth seeing, and if you can get out to the theater to watch I would recommend it in this setting. Horror isn’t a genre I usually go out and watch, but I would probably also buy this film. The overall storytelling and characters are good enough to enjoy on multiple viewings. It is a little early in the year to be talking Oscars for 2017, but hopefully Peele gets a small amount of buzz for best screenplay this year. Get Out at the very least deserves to be in the running.

What did you think of Get Out if you saw it? Is the nearly universal praise the film is receiving getting you interested if you haven’t seen it? Comment and let me know. 

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